Seven Blind Mice
Seven Blind Mice

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Annotation: Retells in verse the Indian fable of the blind men discovering different parts of an elephant and arguing about its appearance. The illustrations depict the blind arguers as mice.
Genre: Fairy tales
Catalog Number: #266813
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition Date: 2002
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-698-11895-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6849-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-698-11895-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6849-8
Dewey: 398.24
LCCN: 90035396
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In the Indian fable, each blind mouse visits the elephant and declares that he has discovered a pillar, a snake, a cliff, a spear, a fan, or a rope. But a seventh mouse, the only one to investigate the whole 'something,' is able to discern that it is an elephant. The spareness of the text is echoed in the splendid collages. Immensely appealing.
Kirkus Reviews
A many-talented illustrator (Lon Po Po, 1989, Caldecott Medal) uses a new medium—collage—in an innovative reworking of ``The Blind Men and the Elephant,'' with splendid results: a book that casually rehearses the days of the week, numbers (ordinal and cardinal), and colors while memorably explicating and extending the theme: ``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.'' The mice (first seen as an intriguing row of bright tails on the elegantly spare black title spread) are the colors of the rainbow plus white; they, the white text, and the parts of the elephant (as they really are and as the mice imagine them) are superimposed on a dramatic black ground. The real elephant is skillfully composed with textured and crumpled paper in gentle earth tones; in a sly philosophical twist, the form each mouse imagines is the color of the mouse: e.g., Green Mouse says the trunk is a snake, shown as green. On Sunday, White Mouse (the only female) runs over the entire elephant, getting the others to join her; now, at last, with her help, they all understand the whole. Exquisitely crafted: a simple, gracefully honed text, an appealing story, real but unobtrusive values and levels of meaning, and outstanding illustrations and design—all add up to a perfect book. (Picture book. 3+)"
Publishers Weekly
In a stunning celebration of color Caldecott medalist Young ( Lon Po Po ) offers a vibrant variation on the fable of the blind men trying to identify an elephant. Seven differently-hued blind mice approach the ``strange Something'' in their midst on successive days and report their findings to the group. A large black square provides the background for each painting, a dramatic contrast to the brilliant images ``felt'' by the sightless rodents. Young's textured, cut-paper illustrations allow readers to visualize just how a floppy ear might be mistaken for a fan (``I felt it move!''); the elephant's curving trunk springs to life as both a jewel-green snake and a glowing yellow spear. The spare text permits greater exploration and enjoyment of the artwork--it may be difficult to read the story straight through without stopping to compare the various images. The ``Mouse Moral'' that concludes the tale--``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole''--may seem superfluous to those who prefer the imaginative ``vision'' of the mice. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- A real winner, on many levels. The first impression is visual delight. Brilliant colors and varied textures of paper collage are placed in striking contrast against velvety black pages. Bold white lettering imposed on the dark background tells of seven blind mice, seen in seven bright colors. Over the course of a week each investigates, in turn, the strange ``Something'' it encounters. To one it is a pillar, to another a snake, to another a cliff. Finally, on the seventh day, the white mouse, running across the thing and remembering what the others found, concludes that it is an elephant. The tale ends with the moral that wisdom comes from seeing ``the whole.'' Adapting the old fable of the blind men and the elephant by weaving in the days of the week, the mice, and the beautiful shapes of the things they see, Young gives children a clever story, wise words, and a truly exciting visual experience.-- Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In Young's version of the familiar Indian folktale of the blind men and the elephant, seven blind mice approach an elephant, ask what it is, explore various parts of the beast, and arrive at different conclusions. On Monday, Red Mouse feels the elephant's leg and proclaims It's a pillar. On Tuesday, Green Mouse jumps onto the elephant's trunk and decides, It's a snake. On Wednesday, Yellow Mouse checks out the tusk and says, It's a spear. But on the seventh day, White Mouse scampers all over the creature and puts all the clues together. The author offers this moral, Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole. Many preschool and primary grade teachers will find that the book reinforces their students' learning of colors, days of the week, and ordinal numbers, while heeding the story's admonition not to lose sight of the whole in their enthusiasm for identifying the parts.Graphically, this picture book is stunning, with the cut-paper figures of the eight characters dramatically silhouetted against black backgrounds. White lettering and borders provide contrast, but the eye is always drawn to the mottled, beige tones of the elephant and the brightly colored mice, vibrant against the large, black pages. Playing with color and line, light and dark, and with the concepts of sightlessness and visualization, Young designs a title page spread with only the mice's colorful tails appearing against the blackness; like the blind mice themselves, viewers will call on their imaginations to fill in the rest. What does one see? Curved lines? Tails? Mice? At once profound and simple, intelligent and playful, this picture book is the work of an artist who understands the medium and respects his audience. (Reviewed Apr. 1, 1992)
Word Count: 269
Reading Level: 1.9
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 1.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 7592 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.3 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q10222
Lexile: AD530L
Guided Reading Level: K
Fountas & Pinnell: K

"It's a pillar," says one. "It's a fan," says another. One by one, the seven blind mice investigate the strange Something by the pond. And one by one, they come back with a different theory. It's only when the seventh mouse goes out-and explores the whole Something-that the mice see the whole truth. Based on a classic Indian tale, Ed Young's beautifully rendered version is a treasure to enjoy again and again.

"Immensely appealing."(The Horn Book, starred review)

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